SOUTH AFRICA AIRWAYS SET FOR MASSIVE NETWORK REDUCTION
(Posted 06th February 2020)
Entebbe is one of the victims of the unfolding cost saving efforts by South African Airways, as the airline has announced it will cut the route from its network.
Also falling to the axe are reportedly Abidjan, but also all domestic routes except, with a much reduced service frequency, Cape Town.
Here it is expected that Mango will step up, being a 100 percent subsidiary of SAA, and offer connectivity to passengers arriving from abroad in Johannesburg.
International routes to be cut are Munich, Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Sao Paulo, among others.
Remaining long haul destinations named were London, Frankfurt, Washington DC via Accra, New York and Perth – for now at least.
The route cuts will go along with a reduction in the fleet and the inevitable redundancies of many of the crews and ground staff with unions getting the broad side of the blame, after they refused to accept redundancies of some 900 staff a few months ago – an action which brought about much higher job losses now.
Business rescue practitioners Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, who run the airline now under the South African version of Chapter 11, have said: ‘The initiatives we are taking now will strengthen SAA’s business. We believe that this should provide reassurance to our loyal customers that SAA is moving in the right direction‘ before adding: ‘It is our intention to restructure the business in a manner that we can retain as many jobs as possible. However, a reduction in the number of employees will unfortunately be necessary‘.
In regard of flights to Entebbe / Uganda is it expected, once relevant traffic rights have been granted, that SA Airlink will serve the route out of Johannesburg directly. They have been operating until now using an SAA flight number. It remains to be seen if SA Airlink will take over the SAA offices and staff in Kampala and Entebbe or if they will opt for the appointment of a GSA which would keep their cost down.
However, the direct withdrawal of SAA from the Entebbe route will also give a welcome opening to Uganda Airlines, which has already announced that they plan to serve the route, commencing later this year. Their Johannesburg flight launch may now be brought forward and once relevant information is available will www.ATCNews.org share it.